Goddess of destruction

Goddess Kali is represented as the goddess of destruction, dissolution and death. In this form it is natural that the goddess appears to be terrible and wrathful. But there is a deeper meaning in the manifestation of Kali as the goddess of death and destruction. Only the initiated souls in the “Kali way of life” can understand the real significance of all her forms and manifestations. Her terrible and wrathful form has great spiritual significance and once we explore and embrace goddess Kali with full dedication of our mind, body, heart and soul we start seeing the truth behind every manifestation and form of goddess Kali

Goddess of destruction: Kali destroys ignorance and imparts knowledge

For the initiated souls and Kali devotees, Kali is the goddess of destruction who destroys ignorance, illusions, delusions and the various manifestations of the self-focussed ego like anger, jealousy, hatred and negative emotions. Goddess Kali takes us towards the path of true life where one by one we see the fall of all the conventional structures of our life. These are the structures of ignorance, illusions and delusions which rise from the self-focussed ego. Sometimes the fall of the structures and the resultant change happens as a smooth experience and at many other occasions this happens through highly painful and traumatic experiences. Persisting with goddess Kali in all these times with adherent faith will lead us to a new opening and it will fill our life with the awareness of the supreme reality.

Goddess of destruction: The awakening of the truth.

The bliss and enjoyment of the "awakening" after the difficult circumstances is indescribable. The awakening of the truth comes in the form of mother Kali and the meaning behind her many aspects and manifestations. Mother Kali is a tough mother and she ensures that her devotees become tough like her by knowing the eternal truth of life. Goddess Kali is depicted in a fearsome form with wild eyes, a protruding tongue and a pose where she holds a severed head of a demon in one hand and a bloody sword in the other hand. She also adorns a garland of severed heads. But we must understand that this is just one of the many aspects of the mother and this aspect symbolizes the destruction of ignorance and self-focussed ego in all of us.

Goddess of destruction: The loving mother Kali

There is another aspect of the mother that comes as a great surprise to her devotees and it is the love that she showers on her followers during the toughest of times. Practical experiences of our life teach us that during the toughest of times, Kali is at the loving best. She takes care of her devotees and children in every possible way during the challenging times and in fact we find ourselves to be the closest to her and clinging to her breast like an infant in these turbulent times. To calm as down and to help us surmount the difficulties mother Kali nourishes us and gives us strength with her divine milk.

Goddess of destruction: Slaying of the demon "Raktabija" and the symbolization behind this story

In one of the folklores of goddess Kali in Hindu mythology, she is invoked by the gods to kill the demon Raktabija. There is a great message and significance that is attached to this story. In the spiritual sense Raktabija represents our self-focussed ego with its infinite desires. Slaying one form of desire leads to the birth of another just as killing one form of Raktabija led to the appearance of the "millions clones" of the same demon during the war between the gods and the demons. It is said that every drop of blood of Raktabija that touched the ground transformed itself into another clone of the demon. The gods who were engaged in battle with this demon could not destroy this demon and so they approached lord Shiva but as Shiva was deeply lost in his meditation, all the gods rushed to his consort Parvati. Seeing the plight of the Gods, Goddess Parvati decides to help them and transforms herself into the warrior goddess Durga.

Goddess of destruction: The manifestation of Kali to slay the demon Raktabija

In the battlefield during fierce battle Durga witnesses the cloning nature of Raktabija and finds herself surrounded by million clones of Raktabija. At this juncture she trembles with anger and decides that enough is enough. In a fit of uncontrollable anger she calls upon Kali from her brow and in this way the fearsome goddess of destruction takes "form" from the brow of Durga. Seeing goddess Kali in her black and dark disposition with protruding eyes and long tongues the demons led by Raktabija get petrified and stunned. They run helter shelter but with no fortune. Kali orders the Gods to attack the demons and spreads her tongue to cover the battlefield preventing even a single drop of Raktabija's blood from falling on the ground and thus preventing Raktabija from reproducing himself. Finally she kills the real Raktabija, holds his severed head in one hand and does not allow a single drop of blood to fall from that severed head into the ground by holding a bowl in another of her hands. She drinks the blood thus accumulated in the bowl.

Goddess of destruction: Uncontrollable Kali and the intervention of Shiva

Drunk on Raktabija's blood, Kali runs across the cosmos killing anyone who dares to cross her path. She adorns herself with the heads, limbs and entrails of her victims. Seeing the uncontrollable form of Kali the gods again run back to lord Shiva for help. This time Shiva breaks his meditation as he senses the impeding destruction of the universe in the hands of the uncontrollable Kali. Therefore to pacify Goddess Kali, Shiva throws himself under her feet. This stops the goddess. She calms down and sheds her ferocious form.

Goddess of destruction: The message behind the slaying of Raktabija

This story has a message for us in the sense that Raktabija is a demon that exists within all of us in the form of our self-focussed ego and its many desires. Kali the goddess of destruction destroys the ego that resides within us and liberates us from the infinite desires that originates from the ego. Once we are on her path, she takes care of us through her divine love and shows us her benevolent form as well as the path towards the eternal truth. She opens up the real purpose of our existence and creates ways for our ultimate liberation.

Goddess of destruction: Kali as the symbol of dissolution and destruction

We should understand that for us to move into the higher trajectory of life we need to shed the veil of ignorance, illusions and delusions build by our ego which is so much engrossed in itself. Kali the black goddess of destruction helps us in destroying the self-focussed ego and its numerous selfish manifestations. She cleanses us of the unreal and shows the path of eternal truth. She reveals us the triviality of living a life which is self-focussed and offers us an alternative life which aims at the goal of reaching her for total liberation.

Goddess of destruction: The appearance of Goddess Kali and the spiritual meaning behind her appearance

The appearance of Kali in her fearsome form is unbearable to the ego. But for the devotees of Kali every aspect of her form has a special meaning. Her fearsome form is significant in every aspect. Kali is seen with red baleful eyes, protruding tongue and four arms. She adorns a garland of severed human heads and also wears a belt made of dismembered arms. This signifies the slaying of the infinite desires of the self-focussed ego. In her upper left hand she wields a bloody sword which signifies that she is bound to destroy the self-focused ego and ignorance with her deadly weapon. In her lower left hand she holds the severed head of a demon signifying the avidya, the ego or ignorance. With her upper right hand she makes the gesture of fearlessness and calls upon her devotes to totally dedicate their mind, body, heart and soul to her. With the lower right hand she confers benefits to those initiated ones who have wholeheartedly embraced her and who are ready to be carried forward in her path. On such initiated souls the great mother Kali bestows the benefit of knowledge and a path towards salvation with all her blessings and support in every manner that is possible.

Goddess of destruction: The many other aspects of goddess Kali

A soul initiated on the path of Kali can see the various forms of the great mother. One of these forms is represented by the dancing mother in sexual union with Shiva. In this form she manifests as the ultimate Duti who enjoys sex and has the ability to bring forth the yogic powers of sex. She is also represented as Bhavatarini the redeemer of the universe and in this manifestation she is the creator, the protector and the destructor of the universe. She is also called as Kalimata the black earth mother and Kalaratri the black night. In India, she is being worshiped from a very ancient time even dating back to the prehistoric periods. Kali is also worshipped particularly in Bengal. Her best known temples are in Kalighat and Dakshineshvar.

Goddess of destruction: The dance of Kali

The devotees who have get initiated in the path of Kali can see her dance in their life. This dance takes places deep inside them as represented by the internal universe of the soul as well as all around them as represented by the external universe. To such loved ones, Kali proclaims in various ways that she is the dance of death as well as the one that is behind all of life. She tells her devotees to understand this fundamental and primal nature of her being. She teaches them that she is neither good nor bad and she is above all dualism, all forms and all matter. She represents everything and nothing. She is the ultimate horror as well as the ultimate ecstasy. She is the existence as well as the dance of destruction that will end the world. She is timeless void, the formless devouring mouth akin to the black hole which will engulf anything and everything in this universe. She will devour the gods and the mortals alike. Nothing and nobody can escape her jaws of death and annihilation. But she is also the creator and the mother who gives rebirth. She will destroy the very foundations of our ignorant self-focussed existence but she shall also give rebirth to us to live a life of purpose which is focussed towards a higher calling. She will dance us to death and she will dance us to life as well.

Goddess of destruction: Losing the fear of Kali

Once we know her truly, we lose all fear of her and we start dancing with her in the eternal dance she enacts. She challenges us constantly to face the horror, the pain and the sorrow of the material world so that we can come out of all that knowing the triviality of mortal existence and the meaning of eternal truth. She assures that all our fears and shortcomings in life will be met in her, destroyed in her and thereafter we shall take rebirth as a fearless and "ever learning soul" with a purpose in hand and a journey to complete. We ultimately arrive in her and thereafter we cease to exist as we become her and she becomes us. That is total liberation.

Goddess of destruction: The triple goddess of creation, preservation and destruction

Kali is also worshiped as the Hindu triple Goddess of creation, preservation, and destruction and in these forms she exemplifies her primal status as the beginning of everything, the current circumstance of everything and the ultimate end of everything. She is the animating force of Shiva, the destroyer and the lord of the dance. With her consort she plays the game of creating the existence, taking care of the existence and finally destroying the existence. She is the ultimate reality and everything is consumed in her. She is the insatiable hunger of time and devours one and all to create anew and to give rebirth. She represents life as well as death.

Goddess of destruction: The uncontrollable energy of Kali

Kali's energy is uncontrollable and as per folklore after killing two demons, she got drunk on their blood and began dancing on their dead flesh. She danced herself into frenzy until she realized that she almost danced Shiva to death. In this form she shows that she will not stop until she devours every inch of ignorance that is within us. She will only stop when nothing is left and from there she shall open a new path and a new way of life.

Goddess of destruction: Kali worship

In her main aspect as goddess of destruction and death materials like the skulls, cemeteries, and blood are associated with her worship. Her followers and devotees worship her in this form so that they can overcome their fear of her by totally surrendering to her. Once we totally surrender to her, she destroys our self-focussed ego and readies us for the higher trajectory of life as decided by her.

Goddess of destruction: Overcoming our darkest fears

The goddess of destruction has begun her dance in our life to tell us that it is time to face our fears. Without losing the "fear of Kali" we cannot think of achieving her. Fear is actually the manifestation of the self-focused ego. When we lose fear we overcome the baggage and restrictive structures of our self-focussed ego. Once this happen, then all that lurks ominously, either buried deep in our unconscious mind or close by in our external environment can be stared in the eye and brought into the light of consciousness. By doing this we lose the fear of the dark forces and the limitations set by the self-focussed ego. We start speaking the undeniable truth and we start living the real life represented by our inner self. Then all the warnings of dangerous places, people and things become trivial as we find that they are controlled by fear. We in fact lose the "fear" of fear and start dancing the "dance of our life" with full creativity and creative action.

Goddess of destruction: Kali the saviour goddess

Kali makes us totally devoid of fear, dispels our ignorance and thereafter she tells us that it is time that we initiate our dance of creation for a higher purpose. Once we initiate the will of Kali we become connected to her and move towards the path of ultimate liberation. Overcoming fear is the first and last step towards this path. We can overcome the formless fear by naming it and throwing it in front of Kali so that she can cut it into pieces and devour it totally. By doing this we gain the immense power and energy of life as represented by goddess Kali, the goddess of destruction and renewed creation.

Article by Karishma J. Anand

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